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Forging a unique synthesis, slaves gathered in "hush harbors" -- woods, gullies, ravines, thickets and swamps -- for heartfelt worship which stressed deliverance from the toil and troubles of the present world, and salvation in the heavenly life to come.
For the next 200 years, the slave trade exported slaves from Angola, Ghana, Senegal and other parts of West Africa to America's South.
Many worshipped in established, predominantly white congregations, but by the late 18th century, blacks had begun to congregate in self-help and benevolent associations called African Societies.
Functioning as quasi-religious organizations, these societies often gave rise to independent black churches.
" Wright's most famous parishioner was the leading Democratic contender for the presidential nomination, Barack Obama. Obama seized the moment to deliver a profound meditation on race in America, a speech titled "A More Perfect Union." Tracing the deep historical roots of racial inequality and injustice, Obama put Wright's anger into historical context.
Trinity was Obama's spiritual home -- the place where he had found religion, where he was married, and where his daughters had been baptized. In very personal terms, he also described his experience at Trinity: Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor.